FocusAsia SBR prices may fall further as feedstock BD tumbles

08 September 2011 04:20  [Source: ICIS news]

By Helen Yan

SBR is a raw material for manufacturing tyres.SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) prices may fall further because of plunging feedstock butadiene (BD) costs and weak demand from downstream tyre makers amid economic uncertainty, industry sources said on Thursday.

Non-oil grade 1502 SBR prices may fall to around or below $4,000/tonne (€2,840/tonne) CFR (cost and freight) Asia in early October if the feedstock BD price continues to plunge, industry sources said.

Feedstock BD prices plunged by $200/tonne to $3,450-3,500/tonne CFR northeast (NE) Asia in the week ended 31 August and are expected to fall further by the end of September as supply outstrips demand, industry sources said.

About 10,000 to 15,000 tonnes of spot BD cargoes from China and Iran are available for loading in September, but demand has waned due to production cutbacks at styrene butadiene rubber and butadiene rubber plants in China, South Korea and Taiwan.

Spot prices of non-oil grade 1502 SBR were at $4,200-4,250/tonne CFR Asia this week, down by $150/tonne since the end of August, according to ICIS data.

“We are expecting the SBR non-oil grade 1502 price to fall below $4,000/tonne CFR Asia by October as we anticipate that the feedstock BD price to continue to drop to the low $3,000’s CFR basis,” a downstream tyre producer said.

Demand for SBR has also dropped significantly, as several downstream tyre producers in China, India and southeast Asia are operating at reduced rates of between 50-70% in view of the gloomy global economic outlook.

“There is still room for SBR prices to fall further as the downstream tyre producers are keeping low inventories of up to one month at most, given fears of a global recession,” a trader said.

“Demand for SBR is very weak as the downstream tyre makers are operating at reduced rates and are buying smaller quantities of SBR on a spot basis rather than quarterly contract basis,” a SBR producer said.

SBR is a major feedstock in the production of tyres for the automotive industry.

Weak market sentiment amid rising concerns over the slowing economies of Europe and the US, has weighed on demand for automobiles and tyres.

“Demand for autos and tyres is expected to weaken in Europe and the US because of their slowing economies and ongoing debt crisis which have dampened market sentiment and curtailed trade,” a tyre maker said.

Asia is a major production centre for global tyre makers such as Bridgestone, Goodyear, Michelin, Continental, Yokohama and Hankook.

China and Southeast Asia are export-oriented economies and exporters of tyres to Europe and the US.

($1 = €0.71)

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Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections

By: Helen Yan
+65 6780 4359

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